The fairy castle cactus is one of the most beautiful houseplants you can own.
And if you look after this gorgeous cactus for long enough, it will actually begin to take the shape of a fairy castle.
Big, bright green turrets and spires rise from the base of a fairy castle cactus.
This whimsically-named Brazilian native is beautiful and easy to care for.
But when it doesn’t get the care it needs, it can droop and wilt and things can really start to go wrong.
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Why Is My Fairy Castle Cactus Drooping?
Your fairy castle cactus may be drooping for a number of reasons. The most common ones include the wrong choice of soil, overwatering, using a pot that’s too big, lack of sunlight, freeze damage, and mealy bug infestations.
How Do You Revive A Droopy Fairy Castle Cactus?
The most important thing is to ensure that watering, soil and pot size are all to your plant’s needs.
The most common and probably the most serious issue is overwatering.
Related Article: How To Tell The Age Of A Cactus
Overwatering And Drainage Issues
Overwatering is probably the quickest way to kill your cactus.
In its natural habitat, a fairy castle can handle a drenching followed by long periods of drought.
So, it’s okay to forget to water it every now and then.
Underwatering usually won’t cause drooping.
It may begin to look dried out, but it shouldn’t droop.
Poor drainage is a common cause of a drooping fairy castle cactus.
If the soil isn’t fast draining and your cactus sits in sogginess, it can easily lead to root rot.
Ensure the pot it sits in is unglazed clay with a half-and-half potting mixture of sand and soil.
You want to mimic its natural habitat, so the loamier and sandier, the better.
If the soil isn’t fast-draining enough or the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, standing water is likely to build up and cause rot.
How Often Do You Water A Fairy Castle Cactus?
Because these cacti are drought resistant, they don’t need much water at all to thrive.
When watering, be sure to soak the soil initially and then let it completely dry out before watering again.
You should only have to water it about one time every 4 to 8 weeks.
And give it less water during the winter months.
Insure The Pot Isn’t Too Big
A container that is too big can be a serious problem for your fairy castle cactus.
If the pot is too large, it will hold more water than a small pot and for a longer period of time.
This can lead to root rot which can cause drooping, and if undetected, can kill your plant.
The diameter of the pot only needs to be a couple of inches wider than the body of the cactus itself.
And it only needs to be repotted every other year or when the cactus is looking far too big for its pot.
Handling Root Rot
If you notice root rot early, you can save the cactus by removing all rotten and dead roots and leaving what’s healthy.
Then, let the cactus sit out of its pot in a dark, warm area for about three to five days.
But, you must wrap the roots with either moist moss or a wet clean cloth to keep them moist.
Then take a clean, fresh unglazed clay pot with the proper cactus soil mixture and put it in direct sun.
Don’t give it any water and allow it to take root on its own.
Once you see it’s strong and healthy with signs of recovery, then give it some water.
Related Article: Why Is My Cactus Leaning?
Dealing With Mealy Bugs
If you know the problem is not a water or soil issue, your fairy castle cactus might be suffering from a pest infestation.
Often, mealy bugs will steal nutrients from the plant, leaving the cactus dehydrated and drooping.
You can identify these pesky critters by the appearance of cotton-like spots.
If you look a little closer, sometimes you’ll spot them moving around.
You have to remove them right away.
With a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol, rub the plant’s surface where you see these whitish areas.
Then, spray neem oil on it once a week to prevent the bugs from coming back.
Also, keep your fairy castle cactus away from other plants.
Pests, like mealy bugs, have a tendency to jump around.
Give It More Sunlight
The fairy castle is a full-sun cactus and sometimes, drooping branches are due to the plant not receiving enough direct light each day.
When it doesn’t get enough sun, it will start stretching out to find more light.
This results in weak growth forcing the cactus to droop, bend and grow skinny.
If you can’t find a good, natural spot for the cactus, you may need to get a grow light.
Once it starts receiving a sufficient amount of light, it should perk right back up again.
But if it’s been stretching for a while, chances in its growth may be here to stay.
You can cut off the stretched part or simply plant a new fairy castle.
Consider Temperature And Climate
This type of cactus is not the most cold hardy, so if you’re keeping it outdoors and living in a zone that dips below 30° F, it may be best to plant this cactus in a pot that you can bring indoors.
If you live in a cooler climate, and it’s wintertime, your fairy castle cactus may begin to droop.
Be sure it rests in a warm spot with plenty of light.
Because it comes from Brazil, it’s not happy in freezing temperatures.
Also keep it out of the way of drafts and breezes, taking care to avoid windows.
How To Repair A Frost Damaged Cactus
Being native to Brazil, the fairy castle cactus is no fan of freezing temperatures.
Once it has been exposed to frost, parts of your cactus may begin to rot, and if not treated immediately, can eventually lead to the death of the plant.
But if you act fast and the damage isn’t too severe, there’s a good chance you can save it.
Inspect the plant for any yellow or blackened areas and use thongs or your finger to feel for any mushy parts.
Any frost-damaged areas will be soft to the touch and discolored.
Once there’s no further risk of frost, sanitize a sharp knife using pure rubbing alcohol or a 10 percent household bleach solution and cut away any mushy or discolored areas of your fairy castle cactus.
Be sure to sanitize the knife after each cut.
Sprinkle sulfur powder on the exposed areas of flesh.
Sulfur is an effective fungicide that can prevent infections from developing.
Also, keep the plant away from moist or humid areas to reduce the risk of a fungal or bacterial infection.
If all is well, you should eventually start to see skin growing back over the freeze-damaged areas.
Just like most other cacti and succulents, fairy castles are easy to take care of, you just have to cater to its three most important requirements for survival: lots of sunlight, a little water, and fast-draining soil.
And any drooping that you notice can usually be reversed once you know what to look for and take action quickly.